THE CHANNEL ISLANDS’ FIRST WELLBEING REPORT RELEASED
Results verify that COVID-19 has had a profound, degradative effect on mental health in the Channel Islands and highlight the productivity repercussions to businesses. Results also herald Islander’s for their ability to build highly-functioning teams with an authentic understanding of communication and trust.
Marbral Advisory and We Talk Wellbeing have released the first ever Channel Islands’ Wellbeing Report. The report provides a platform of data-driven insights into wellbeing at work across Jersey and Guernsey for the Professional Services sector.
A data-driven survey provided the backbone of statistics for the report. The survey was completed by 691 individuals across the CI. It consisted of 95 questions based on 3 areas - Self, Team and Organisation. Interviews were also conducted with industry and wellbeing leaders and the research analysed to produce the Channel Islands’ first Wellbeing Report.
Findings of the research show that the current status of wellbeing in the Professional Services sector in the CI is not ideal. Although there were numerous examples of individual good practice, employees within the sample were moderately stressed and overall they were not as happy as their peers in comparison to research populations around the world (1Subjective Happiness Scale - general population data). This, correlated with moderate lifestyle and lack of work-life balance scores, has the potential to risk greater impact to overall wellbeing if left without intervention.
Whilst this research report highlights areas of positive behaviours and intentions, it also shows that organisations within the CI Professional Services sector have improvements to make in fully developing inclusive wellbeing strategies. The sample ranked their wellbeing with ‘Team’ performing best, then ‘Self‘, and ‘Organisational’ wellbeing scoring the least.
Mental health is of growing concern in workplaces around the world, the CI being no different, stress being the main symptom of prolonged adverse mental health. For the CI Wellbeing Report, scores were collated for four areas of health with ‘mental health’ scoring the lowest, followed closely by ‘social health’, then ‘physical health’ and ‘inner self health’ being ranked the highest.
Important Survey Findings:
- 64% rated their mental health pre-lockdown at a 4 or 5 (5 being ‘best’) whereas post-lockdown only 30% rated their mental health 4 or above.
- 32% reported a perception of not coping.
- 49% do not feel they have work-life balance.
- 31% do not feel positive about their future at work post-COVID-19.
- 63% cite ‘work’ as one of their primary causes of stress, anxiety and poor wellbeing.
- 32% were not certain about their colleagues’ abilities to overcome obstacles and manage their emotions.
- 87% show care for their fellow team members all or most of the time.
- 80% say they have trust in their teams ‘all’ or ‘most of the time’.
- 29% of respondents were ‘not sure’ or did ‘not agree’ that the organisation they work for takes action to prevent harm to employees from abuse, harassment, discrimination and violence.
- 17% of those surveyed would not recommend their organisation as a great place to work. Out of these 17%, 87% did not feel valued at work, and 70% felt that employee wellbeing was not part of their organisation’s mission, vision and/or business objectives.
- 53% said the importance of employee health and wellbeing was consistently reflected in senior leaders’ actions.
- 43% did not believe that senior leadership reinforced the importance of taking regular breaks and ensuring a healthy work-life balance.
Company performance could be at risk due to increasing levels of stress. The findings demonstrate that individual wellbeing factors i.e. Resilience, Happiness and Lifestyle, were all correlated with levels of Stress. Research shows that stress is highly linked to lower resilience and lower productivity (2 Harvard Business Review). The Report findings support this view making this finding a potential key concern for CI companies.
Prior to this report, wellbeing research on companies and employees in the Channel Islands was scarce.This is despite the fact that Jersey Finance’s ‘Jersey Means Business Report 2020’ identified ‘wellbeing’ in the top five factors influencing productivity. The common perception is that Guernsey and Jersey workers and residents enjoy a quality of life that is of a higher standard than their UK counterparts. However, recent local research (3 The Guernsey and Alderney Wellbeing Survey 2018/ 4 The 2020 Jersey Opinions & Lifestyle Report) indicates that the general populations of each Bailiwick are also facing considerable health and wellbeing challenges.
There has been growing awareness of the influence of wellbeing at work in the UK and further afield given its importance after the changes experienced due to the pandemic, and the growing evidence demonstrating its effect on business productivity.
In the UK, stress, depression and anxiety continue to represent significant ill-health conditions in the workforce, accounting for 51% of work-related ill health and 55% of working days lost in 2020 (5 National Statistics, UK Government). Professional burn-out is now recognised by the World Health Organisation as an occupational phenomenon6. The CI Wellbeing Report researchers believe that taking early preventative action in the CI, will reduce costs to businesses, strengthen our economy and our society as a whole.
The research team for the CI Wellbeing Report conducted a small number of semi-structured interviews with a secondary sample of key stakeholders as part of their analysis. These included the CEOs of Jersey Finance and We Are Guernsey for a business perspective; a General Practitioner and a Mental Health Practitioner; the Operations Manager for Mind Jersey, and a Social Wellness Expert who champions wellness programs within businesses.
Hugo Forrester, Mind Jersey, said: “The three biggest wellbeing challenges organisations will face in the next 12 months are (i) the balancing of returning to the office and working from home, (ii) that people now feel empowered to talk about their mental health and businesses who have not invested in wellbeing will be on the back foot, and (iii) organisations need to actively consider and budget appropriate finances to meet the wellbeing needs and expectations of their people.”
Lee Bennett, Mental Health Professional, said: “It’s absolutely imperative that we consider what wellbeing sounds and looks like for businesses and organisations, so it’s not seen as a throw away word... If we don’t do something, we will have real issues with presenteeism and the cost to businesses and humankind will be vast.”
Rupert Pleasant, We Are Guernsey, said: “It’s fundamental that we enable our people to get the right work/life balance. A happy employee is a productive employee. Less mistakes, higher productivity, less conflict.”
Dr Philippa Venn, Cleveland Clinic, said: “The challenge for employers to maintain productivity and not build resentment is to be flexible and offer hybrid solutions. Now we all have the infrastructure to work from home, it’s going to be difficult for employers to argue against it”
Joe Moynihan, Jersey Finance, said: “Pretty basic organisational management will look at how you treat your employees and the impact this has on your customers. If you take care of your employees, there’s a high likelihood they’re going to look after your customers. So, how you treat your employees is really important.”
Jade Ecobichon-Gray, Mindset Matters, said: “Social wellness is the foundation on which all other pillars of wellness sit. From a business perspective, we need to understand and appreciate that people do not leave their social/societal wellness behind at the door when they arrive for work.”
The CI Wellbeing Report research was led by Dr Glenda Rivoallan (Wellbeing and Resilience expert) from We Talk Wellbeing and Jenny Winspear (MA Organisational Psychology) from Change Management Consultancy, Marbral Advisory. They were supported by Kenny Manson (We Talk Wellbeing), Leonie McCrann and Natasha Egré (Marbral Advisory).
Dr Glenda Rivoallan, Founder and CEO, We Talk Wellbeing, said: “The Report has provided us with vital data that can be used by all companies and organisations to improve corporate wellbeing. We hope our research will help organisations to shape their strategy with people at the centre, through developing a deeper understanding of wellbeing requirements and aspirations in this emerging new working world. We believe that happy, healthy and engaged employees, managers and leaders perform better, leading to increased productivity and innovation. This in turn, creates or strengthens dynamic, inspiring and sustainable organisations. Our findings demonstrate that if successful and positive culture change is achieved, the benefits to overall wellbeing can be monumental.”
Jenny Winspear, Consultant and Product Lead, Marbral Advisory, said: “Organisations that are ‘well’ perform better and there is extensive research correlating positive wellbeing with high performing organisations. If the Channel Islands are to keep up with the UK and other jurisdictions in sourcing and retaining talent, focusing on wellbeing cannot be overlooked. Organisations will have to consider their role-modelling of wellbeing behaviours, their cultural practices, and the promotion of work-life balance. By concentrating on wellbeing strategy and engagement and a healthier and more inclusive culture, we can improve the quality of working life for the individual and organisational performance for the employer. We believe that the results of this report will help to shape how the Islands’ view, manage, measure and invest in wellbeing in the future for the sake of the health of our people and our island’s economies.